Twenty young people have championed the cause of human rights in their communities of Trench Town and Denham Town in Kingston, Jamaica as part of the LinkUP, a project funded by the European Union (EU) and coordinated by Fight for Peace.
LinkUP is designed to raise awareness of human rights and to strengthen the relationship between the community and security forces in Kingston. This includes joint activities and training between the community and the security forces, and response services for young people and their families.
In the latest project activities, participants received training in human rights, communication, and monitoring, evaluation and learning. They also launched a human rights advocacy campaign which included an awareness raising community flashmob, an Instagram Live session and information workshops.
And, on International Human Rights Day, and with participation from security forces, they also delivered community forums and a youth summit focused on young people and their rights.
“It’s important for community members to learn about their rights so they know when their rights are being abused. It’s important to have better relationships with the security forces so we can understand and respect each other”, explained Sameka, one of the participants and a Project Assistant in the Trench Town community.
“I joined the LinkUP project to learn new things and give back to my community. I learned a lot. You can talk up on issues that are affecting your community. We have to be the person to solve the problems”, added Lennordo. “Knowing your rights will put you at an advantage when dealing with the law, because they will treat you better and are open to discussion. I want to make a difference” he explained.
As part of the wider LinkUP project, young people in participating communities benefit from sports such as taekwondo, mixed martial arts and boxing; as well as partner events with security forces including a health fair and the establishment of three PEACE parks in Denham Town. Security personnel also participate in human rights sensitisation training.
LinkUP forms part of the wider UP Unity & Peace programme coordinated by Fight for Peace in Jamaica. UP Unity & Peace is a Fight for Peace Collective and, using a collective impact approach, brings together over 40 local partners to deliver programmes to young people between the ages of seven and 24 in six participating communities. Collectives form one of Fight for Peace’s three strategic focuses, aimed at supporting young people to reach their full potential in life, and promoting peace in our communities.